Revalue and Reuse: A Conversation with Mary Mattingly

On April 29th, 2024, the EDC’s ECO-ARTs group hosted a conversation with renowned environmental artist Mary Mattingly. Mattingly is known for merging art, environmental activism, and education. She tackles sustainability, climate change, and displacement through photography, performance, portable architecture, and sculptural ecosystems. Mattingly was joined in conversation by Kristine Roome, curator of the EDC ECO-ARTs group.


A recent New York Times article “The Optimistic Art of Mary Mattingly” explains, “Throughout her career, Mattingly has created prescient environmental projects that address current crises and potential cataclysms.” She “brings a wry sense of humor” to her work and “reinvents the possibilities of urban life ‘to imagine other worlds and other ways of being.’”

Mattingly’s work has been exhibited at Storm King Art Center, the International Center of Photography, Seoul Art Center, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Palais de Tokyo and featured in Aperture MagazineArt in AmericaArtforumSculpture MagazineThe New York TimesNew York MagazineLe MondeNew Yorker Magazine, and on BBC News, NPR, and on Art21’s New York Close Up series, and in books such as the Whitechapel/MIT Press Documents of Contemporary Art series titled “Nature”, Henry Sayre’s A World of Art, and Mattingly’s monograph What Happens After was published in December 2022.

She received the 2023 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has been awarded grants and fellowships from, among others, the James L. Knight Foundation, Yale University School of Art, the Harpo Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the Art Matters Foundation. She is a much sought-after speaker and has lectured at institutions including Yale University School of Art; Harvard University; University of Oxford; University of Michigan, New York Armory (Art21); The Museum of Modern Art; The Bronx Museum of the Arts; The Queens Museum of Art; The Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Brooklyn Public Library

Some of her well-known works include Limnal Lacrimosa (of Lakes, Tears) in Montana, a large water clock driven by the speed of geologic change in Glacier National Park; Vanishing Point, a two-part installation, comprising of a learning centre located on Southend Pier in the UK; Swale, an edible landscape on a barge that circumnavigates New York’s public land laws; Flock House, an ongoing series of mobile, self-sufficient living systems that challenge notions of home and community; and the recent sculpture, Ebb of a Spring Tide, which opened in May 2023 at Socrates Sculpture Park.

Dr. Kristine Roome is a cultural anthropologist with a PhD from Columbia University and a certificate from the Institute for African Studies. She was the former Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she was representative to the Earth Institute, served on the Institutional Board of Black Rock Forest an, environmental research center in upstate NY, and helped establish the Center for Sustainable Futures. She has taught art, anthropology, education and museum studies at Teachers College, The New School and several other universities in the US and abroad and has advised, curated, and researched a number of international exhibitions. She currently works at the Smithsonian Institute/ National Anthropological Archives and serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Historical Trust. She is the author of the forthcoming book on art & science entitled “The Human Feather.”

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